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An Idea 
That Saved a Business 

An Idea 
That Saved a Business 

An Idea 
That Saved a Business 

Leonard Dreyfuss 

Privately printed for 

The United Advertising Corporation 


Copyright 1918 


United Advertising Corporation 


The Idea 

THE General Manager of a 
large Department Store sat 
in his study one night, puff- 
ing away at a big black cigar, 
with a real worried expression 
upon his face. Things were not 
right down at the Store. 

Two months previous he had 
accepted the position as General 
Manager, and it had been gradu- 
ally dawning upon him that he 
was waging a losing fight. The 
Store had an equipment and over- 
head based upon a total annual 

business of seven million dollars 
and was barely doing four. 

For days he had been review- 
ing his Organization; the activi- 
ties of his competitors, the possi- 
bilities of the City itself, the op- 
portunities for the elimination of 
expense that might serve to re- 
duce the over-head. It was a brain 
racking circle of thoughts and fig- 
ures that seemed to lead nowhere 
but back to the starting point. 

Sitting in his Study he tried his 
best to find a solution of the ever- 
increasing problem. Musing upon 
the situation aloud he said, "boiled 
down to a single sentence the 
problem seems to be this — how 
am I going to get the greatest 

amount of money in the short- 
est possible time?" The next 
thought was "to whom shall I 
look as an example of how that 
can be accomplished — who gets 
the greatest amount of money in 
the shortest possible time?" Sud- 
denly he sat up as the thought 
struck him forcibly — "why, it's 
the Circus that in the shortest 
space of time produces the great- 
est result." 

He couldn't shake the idea and 
the next morning he had deter- 
mined that he would seek out the 
General Manager of the largest 
Circus Company traveling the 
Country and ask him to what it 
was they attributed their success. 

The General Manager was a 
man who, like most true Execu- 
tives, acts on impulse, and he 
made up his mind that he would 
take the first train to where the 
Circus was showing and talk with 
its General Manager. 

Fortunately the Circus was then 
located in a City about one hun- 
dred miles distant, and the Gen- 
eral Manager made the trip. 

In conference with the Circus 
man the next day he told him 
what he had in mind. "You folks," 
he said, "it seems to me, more 
than any other business, get the 
greatest amount of money in the 
shortest possible time — how do 
you do it?" 

The Circus man laughed. "It 
is more simple than you think," 
he said. "We simply are most 
careful students of advertising; 
we plan and place our advertising 
know when we shall arrive and 
how long we shall stay. We have 
found that some people read the 
newspapers, a great number; and 
some ride in Street Cars, quite a 
few; but that ALL PEOPLE who 
can come to our Circus use the 
great outdoors. Therefore, we 
spend eighty per cent, of the 
money we have for advertising, 
outdoors. By the use of outdoor 
publicity we get our greatest 
'punch/ The Poster offers a use 

of color and size that dominates, 
and the eye cannot escape it. Then 
we so build our copy that 'he who 
runs is compelled to read/ We are 
specialists in evolving compelling 
copy — we are psychologists who 
have accurately gauged the pub- 
lic's mind. We cater to the great 
masses, rich and poor alike. We 
must understand humanity in its 
entirety. So we use the Poster 
and painted signs — we tell our 
message in color and size and we 
reiterate it on every Highway and 
Byway until you cannot escape the 
message of the Circus and its ap- 

The two men talked for a num- 
ber of hours, and finally the Gen- 

eral Manager said, "if your plan 
is a success for the Circus, why 
not for some other business? Is 
there any particular reason why 
your method can only be success- 
ful for a Circus Company ?" 

"No," said the Circus man, "I 
think the method itself is sound 
and would, to a large degree, 
prove efficient for mostly any bus- 
iness, if as carefully planned as 


The General Manager of the 
large Department Store, riding 
back to his City, thought over all 
that the Circus man had told him, 
and this one thought persisted in 
his mind — "Why not for the De- 
partment Store?" 

Next day he laid plans for an 
Outdoor Advertising Campaign. 
He called in his Advertising Man- 
ager and a Representative of the 
Outdoor Advertising Company of 
his City, and said to them, "I 
want to place outdoor advertise- 
ments so that, no matter where 
you stand on any widely traveled 
avenue in this City at any point of 
circulation, you will be greeted by 
a dominant reminder of our Store. 
I am going to make this Institu- 
tion synonymous with shopping. I 
am going to so constantly reiter- 
ate that message, and I intend to 
do it in so attractive a way and 
with such compelling copy that 
the public will be unconsciously at- 


tracted to us in larger numbers 
than ever before. I am going to 
inaugurate within such changes 
as will make OURS the finest 
place to shop, rendering unques- 
tionable service and having a 
'come again' atmosphere about it; 
and I will look to the outdoor ad- 
vertising that we will do to help 
build for us this prestige that, to 
my mind, is so necessary for an 
Institution such as ours." 

The General Manager was an 
enthusiast not given to half meas- 
ures — on e of those leaders of men 
who act instinctively and is nine- 
tenths right. 

He said to the Advertising 
Manager, "I have set a figure of 


twenty thousand dollars as my 
limit for this Outdoor Campaign, 
and I want you to buy the most 
dominant Outdoor Display that 
was ever planned in this City. I 
want to go over every bit of the 
copy with you before it is finally 
executed, and I want the copy 
changed every month with a com- 
plete re-arrangement of both color 
scheme and message. I want to 
make, as I stated before, our In- 
stitution synonymous with shop- 

Seven years have gone by, and 
the General Manager is Presi- 
dent of his Company, which is 
now doing some twelve million 
dollars' worth of business yearly. 


No, the increase of eight mil- 
lion dollars in their business is not 
due entirely to this wonderful 
Outdoor Campaign that was put 
forth. The untiring energy of the 
General Manager, his far-sight- 
edness and ability in re-organizing 
his Institution, have all gone to 
make this Department Store the 
wonderful business it is. It is sig- 
nificant that today his Company 
is still spending eighteen thousand 
dollars per year for Outdoor Ad- 

The General Manager said to 
me the other day, "I believe in 
our Outdoor Advertising because 
I have proven its value. It tells 
my message to all the people: To 


the Foreigners and the Illiterates 
who cannot read the newspapers 
and have money to spend, and 
who can absorb a simple message 
told to them pictorially and in 
large size and color — to the school 
girl who is the mother of tomor- 
row, and to the busy man who 
rides in his motor car to and from 
his factory and glances only oc- 
casionally at his newspaper. 

"Mind you I hold no brief for 
Outdoor Advertising alone — I am 
a consistant user of newspaper 
space, probably the largest in this 
City today, but I attribute the 
first growth and stimulus of our 
business to the wide-spreading use 
I made of Outdoor Publicity." 


"I do not believe that a De- 
partment Store can be success- 
fully advertised by Outdoor Ad- 
vertising alone, any more than I 
believe it can be most successfully 
advertised by newspaper advertis- 
ing alone. I believe that a De- 
partment Store is best served by 
a judicious combination of both." 

This General Manager, as I 
said before, is President of his In- 
stitution today, one of the wisest 
men in the Department Store field 
in America. 

And the best part of this Story is that 

it is absolutely true and was told to 

the writer almost as set down. 



Our organization has the advantage of 
a merchandising experience covering a 
period of 40 years. We have served cli- 
ents who have grown from infant indus- 
try to corporations doing fifty million 
dollars or more per year. 

We have carefully collected and com- 
piled sales and advertising data, a great 
deal of which is applicable to all business. 

We have a sane, workable plan we 
should like to present to you. 

United Advertising Corporation. 

United Advertising Corporation 

Samuel Pratt . . . President 

Leonard Dreyfuss . . Vice-President 
Alfred V. Van Beuren, Secretary -Treasurer 

Specializing in Outdoor Advertising 

Throughout the United States 
and Canada 

Executive Offices 

one west 34th street at fifth avenue 
New York City 

Operating and Affiliated Companies 

Newark Poster Advertising Co. Newark, N. J. 

Newark Sign Co. Newark, N. J. 

New Haven Poster Advertising Co., New Haven, Conn. 
New Haven Sign Co. New Haven, Conn. 

Bridgeport Outdoor Advertising Co., Bridgeport, Conn. 
Van Beuren & N. Y. Bill Posting Co., New York, N. Y. 
American Posting Service, Chicago, IlL 

Dallas Poster Advertising Co. Dallas, Tex. 

Edwards Co. Waco, Tex. 

Consolidated Bill Posting Co. Louisville, Ky. 

Printed by 
The Price & Lee Co., of N. 
The Art Press 
Newark, New Jersey